Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt continued his unstoppable streak of form with a comprehensive win in the 100m at the Zurich Golden League meeting on Friday.
In the packed 26,000-capacity Letzigrund Stadium, Pamela Jelimo of Kenya also went close to beating the oldest track and field world record in the books in the women’s 800m.
Bolt, who set an unprecedented three world records en route to Olympic 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay golds, beat a field that included six of the Olympic finalists plus 200m silver medalist Shawn Crawford.
The 22-year-old timed 9.83 seconds, the 14th-fastest time ever, and a time bested by only three other sprinters — the now-retired Maurice Greene, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay.
“It was good: a nice track and a great crowd,” Bolt said.
“My start was not too good. I concentrated on winning, and as I am starting to get a cold, I was not able to think about any faster a time. My coach told me that I should make sure to end the season healthy,” he said.
Double Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix of the US came second in 9.99 seconds, with Trinidad and Tobago’s silver medalist from Beijing, Richard Thompson, in third at 10.09 seconds.
Olympic 800m champion Jelimo broke her own world junior record when she ran the third-fastest time ever in the event, which also marked 35-year-old multi-medal winning Maria Mutola’s last competitive international race.
Led magnificently through 600m by Russian pacemaker Svetlana Klyuka, who was fourth in the Olympic final, Jelimo clocked 1:54.01.
Only Czech Jarmila Kratochvilova (1:53.28) and Russian Nadezhda Olizarenko (1:53.43) have run faster, in 1983 and 1980 respectively.
Jelimo’s victory means that she remains in contention for the US$1 million Golden League Jackpot along with Croatian Blanka Vlasic, who won the women’s high jump with 2.01m. The series’ final meeting comes in Brussels next week.
“I am so tired,” Jelimo said. “But this was my best race with the best pacemakers. The world record is now closer, but I’m not sure I can do it this year, maybe next. There’s still one race to go for the jackpot.”
It was a mixed night for the 10 other Olympic champions on show.
World record holders Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia and Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia won the men’s 5,000m and women’s pole vault with ease, the former clocking a world lead of 12:50.18 and the latter clearing 4.88m.
Cuban 110m hurdler Dayron Robles beat US arch-rival David Oliver by one-hundredth of a second in 12.97 seconds for his third Golden League win of the season.
Norwegian javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen dominated the field with a best of 90.28m to follow up on his Olympic success.
And Angelo Taylor saw off Kerron Clement in a re-run of the men’s 400m hurdles in Beijing, the double Olympic champion winning in 48.07 seconds.
But Bahrain’s Olympic 1,500m champion Rashid Ramzi was beaten into second in the 1,500m and Belgian high jumper Tia Hellebaut crashed out at a miserly 1.90m.
LaShawn Merritt was beaten into second in the men’s 400m by American compatriot Jeremy Wariner and Lolo Jones also redeemed herself after her disastrous showing in the 100m hurdles, beating Olympic champion Dawn Harper.
“It was no revenge for me because I beat myself in Beijing, I wasn’t beaten by the other girls in a clean race,” Jones said.
Two Kenyans who failed to qualify for the Beijing Games also shone on the track, in the men’s 1,500m and 3,000m steeplechase.